The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories voting will close at noon on Sunday, August 16th. I mean, it sure sounds like you have a lot of time left to read for about 30 minutes, then ponder about which story merits your vote, and then vote . . . BUT! . . . we live in a time where our sense of time is distorted by extraordinary events. If you haven’t acted, and if you don’t act now, it’ll be Monday before you know it.

I mean, it’s Monday now . . . I mean next Monday.

Of course, you have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

So, vultures . . . specifically, Black Vultures<<link (as opposed to Turkey Vultures<<link)  . . .

I plan a post specific to these vultures and the photo ops they gave me, but I thought I would preview a few of the photos.

The above is in B&W, but here’s the color version . . . except there isn’t much color.

The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories voting has entered the doldrums period. Yup, during every round, there’s a point where voting stalls and the poll languishes in solitude with nary a click to keep it company.

You have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

Here are a few photos more photos from Hawaiʻi . . .

That’s another photo from The Big Island. Specifically, a view of the water from Aliʻi Drive. Even more specifically, taken while we sat in the car during one of the many backups one has to contend with when traveling Aliʻi Drive. That’s where all the shops are, the tourists are, and the main road for accessing the shore in Kailua Kona.

If you’re going to be stuck in traffic, there could be much worse places.

The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories are sitting there, looking pretty and waiting for readers (and voters). You could be a reader (if you’ve not already read the stories) and you could be a voter (if you’ve not already voted). And, guess what? Unlike the US elections, you don’t have to choose the lesser of two evils . . . you have three evils to choose from!

You have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

Oh, here are a few photos before you go reading the stories . . .

That’s another photo from The Big Island. Specifically, an ocean-side memorial to a surfer.

The Alphabet Challenge “N” Stories are active and the stories are fiercely battling for supremacy . . . sort-of.

You have no obligation to do anything . . . but it sure would be swell — if you’ve not already done so — if you would read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge N-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

Oh, here are a few photos before you go reading the stories . . .

That’s an offering to Pele<<link in front of a steam vent on the rim of the caldera at the Hawaiʻian Volcano National Park. The photo was taken after most of the activity had subsided . . . so, obviously, the offering worked.

Because our typical daily driving distance is between four and eight miles with speeds seldom exceeding 35mph, once a week we go for a long drive . . . for the sake of the car; a long drive at higher speeds helps maintain the health of the battery and also burns off deposits which would otherwise accumulate and gum things up. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a Dairy Queen in Waimea and that we both like their soft-serve cones.  

Yesterday, we drove to Waimea and back via Saddle Road. Here’s the route:

Interestingly, the route looks a bit like a raptor’s talons . . . or the Grinch’s floppy shoe. 

I’m going with talon . . . why does that even matter? Read on.

Do you notice the red circle I drew? The exact coordinates are 19º 51′ 55″ N and 155º 39′ 16″ W.

Well, that’s where we saw this . . . 

I’ve received more emails asking me one of two questions; am I in danger and/or when will I get close-up photos of the lava event. My previous post has a lot of information and maps so I won’t repeat all that here. 

As I explained there, we’re about 75 miles away from the eruption, so not much danger. As for the other question, there are two kinds of people . . . those who are prudent and stay away from places that are likely to open up under you and ooze lava, and the dead ones. For now, I’m in the first group and there’s no immediate plan to risk immolation no matter how amazing a photo I might get. 

For them who want to keep abreast of fast-developing conditions, THIS news station keeps a decent timetable of events. Obviously, if you’re reading this a few months from now, the link might be a bit out of date. You can also read the Civil Defense Alerts HERE.

That said, news stations on the Mainland and around the world are warning of “ballistic projectiles” weighing several tons being launched by the volcano. 

So, I’ve gotten a few questions from people concerned I might finally be burning in a figurative hell . . . I refer, of course, to the recent (and multiple) lava eruptions in the Leilani Estates area on the Big Island. 

First of all, for them who want to keep abreast of fast-developing events, THIS news station keeps a decent timetable of events. Obviously, if you’re reading this a few months from now, the link might be a bit out of date. 

Second, this is the location of Leilani Estates on the Big Island (right side of the map):

We live in Kailua Kona. As the crow flies, if a crow chose to fly over a couple of active volcanos, we are 75 miles from the current eruption. 

So, here’s the thing . . . I knew the P900 had slow motion. I mean, I’d read it had slow motion capabilities. But, I’m old. I’m old, and I have a lot on my mind. Stuff like where’s the next malasada coming from, why does the hair in my ears grow so fast, and what’s up with my eyebrows? It’s like they’re on some sort of acid trip. Honest, it’s all I can do to keep them from looking like mini-antlers above my eyes. 

The point is, it slipped my mind, see? And, I can tell you why. 

640 x 480 (120p mode)

For them who don’t know what that means, 60p is regular motion; real world; what we experience when we look around and say “What was that? Did you see that?” 

120p shoots twice as fast so that when you play it back it’s at half speed. Now, that sounds pretty good, right? Except for the 640 x 480 part. Those numbers are the width and height of the frame in pixels, and for them who were born after 1980, that’s what’s known as VGA

VGA is fine when viewed as no larger than the above. So, if you click on the YouTube logo, the video opens up in another tab and will play with a couple of large black bars on either side of the picture. Try to view it as a full screen, and it will look like crap.

I know, I know . . . everyone is tired of these kinds of posts. Sure, there’s my witty writing, and sure, there are amazing photos, but, honestly, can’t we just forego all of this and get on with life?

No; no, we can’t.

All these photos were snapped at the Old Kona Airport Park showcased in many previous posts. I would link them — the posts — but it’s just as easy to use the search box on the sidebar and find them all. 

I debated how to do this and what I decided is to show the P900 photos first, and then show the Note 8 photos. The gallery at the bottom will have the photos in a random order, and the SmugMug Gallery HERE will have them in order that they were shot. 

All of the photos here are a maximum of 1280 pixels at their longest side. If you want to see the original size, you need to go to SmugMug. The P900 outputs 16 MP photos while the Note 8 sports a 12MP camera (actually, twin 12 MP cameras). 

All of the P900 photos have a border similar to the first photo above. All of the Note 8 photos are as they came out of the phone and have no border, like the second photo. That, by the way, are the two plants I used to water every day. They are doing fine without me. For new readers, read about them HERE

These days, divisiveness is the norm. Divisiveness bordering on — if not fully enshrined by — hate expressed in venomous comments by one party or group directed at another party or group; comments that dance on the edge of being criminal, often threatening actual physical violence.

This now-accepted behavior of offering vile and crude insults laced with threats of physical violence is so far from civility that I fear we’ll never find our way back.

Where does it come from?

In part, it’s the result of political, social, and news organizations drumming into people that “the other guys” are a danger to you and your family.

My Throwback Thursday post was a foray into the world of B&W and I now present the color versions of those photos. That’s ass-backward from my usual process of presenting color photos and then showing various conversions, mostly monochrome.

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Except . . . some of the B&W photos had already appeared in color on other posts. For instance, the color version of the photo above was already shown on THIS post.

Photos that have appeared on previous posts will be skipped.

You can click on these photos to see a larger version in a new window or tab, and you can also go HERE to see the SmugMug gallery where you can see up to the full-size versions. 

The ship on the previous shot is the Celebrity Legend. That shot was taken from the Old Kona Airport State Park and is a three-shots panorama. If you want to see the full-size zoomable version (7371 x 3372 pixels, 3MB) click HERE

As for the rest of the photos . . . here goes nothing . . . 

I occasionally see posts titled “throwback” this or that. As near as my limited intellect allows comprehension of fads or memes, it apparently requires showing something from a time gone by. 

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Whoa . . . too far back! 

How about I interpret “throwback” slightly different? I’m going to share recent photos as if we were back to the days of film and I were shooting in B&W.

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Well, I’m cheating a bit. Were these actual photos shot on B&W film by yours truly, they would look mighty sorry. Imagine, instead, these were shot on film by a version of me that knew how to shoot B&W film, had the use of high-end equipment, always shot with the camera mounted on a tripod, hand-metered everything, and produced results worthy of sharing by developing the film in his own darkroom. 

You can click on these photos to see a larger version in a new window or tab, and you can also go HERE to see the SmugMug gallery. 

In reality, even given all the above assumptions, I still don’t think I would have been able to produce photos as good as what you will see below. The processing is a mix of DxO Optics, Topaz B&W Plugin, onOne Suite, and DxO Film Pack. 

. . . here goes nothing . . . 

While we have accomplished much in the three weeks since we’ve moved here (“here” — for them who don’t be in the know — is Hawai’i), one thing I’ve yet to do is write. 

I mean, I’m writing now but I’m referring to writing writing, as in writing fiction. What’s happened to me? First, I used the excuse that we just moved here. Then, I said I could not write without my big rig. Then, after everything got here, I used the excuse of not having a desk or chair. 

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The Big Island is . . . big. I think that’s why they named it “The Big Island”. 

Mind, you, not Texas Big . . . heck, not even Colorado Big. Wait, why do people say Texas is big? I mean, it is, but Alaska is more than twice as big

Anyway, The Big Island of Hawai’i . . . when you are driving around it, the vistas from various parts of the Big Island give a sense of scale that impresses more than the vast expanses of Texas. HERE’s some information on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

By the way, this marks a return to my long, meandering, and many photos posts. Mind you, not forty photos . . . thirty-nine. Here’s a quick preview before we get started . . . 

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